Credit counseling is one of the most underutilized sources of debt relief help. As one of the more affordable and least invasive types of debt relief help, it is surprising that more people don’t know of its benefits or ever think to pursue it. Credit counseling can be a great place to start when debts become overwhelming and finances are tight.
Although credit counseling is a required part of the bankruptcy process, it can be highly beneficial for anyone looking to improve their financial situation. Even if you aren’t in debt, credit counseling can teach you a few valuable financial habits. Credit counselors offer information on an array of services from simple budgeting and money management, to saving and investments. The knowledge gained through a credit counselor can help you develop a plan to get out of debt on your own and teach you some of the warning signs for overburdened debt loads. Whether you are required to take the course as part of a bankruptcy filing, or you just want to learn a few tricks of the financial trade, a credit counselor can put you on the path to a brighter financial future for very little cost.
Consumers considering credit counseling are warned against one thing, fraudulent companies operating a scam. Unfortunately, there are many illegitimate businesses out there operating to make a few bucks off the unsuspecting consumer. While most credit counseling agencies are licensed and reputable, there are a few things consumers should do to be sure. First, check with the United States Department of Trustees website, where there is information about where to find a legitimate company. Second, ask a local bankruptcy attorney or financial expert for references, they are in touch with companies that are operating professionally. Last, follow your intuition. If something seems off, or you are uncomfortable with their terms or conditions, do not use their services.